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ALBANY — In a first for the Albany Housing Authority, the agency’s latest measure to protect the community from COVID-19 comes with a soundtrack.

AHA has adopted the “First-to-Know Community Alert System” to keep residents in the loop about vital public health information, including authoritative updates about COVID-19. The agency is asking residents to download the free, anonymous UgoRound App and sign up for the Albany Housing Authority First-to-Know Group.

In a campaign engineered by anti-COVID creative services agency The Auxiliary, Housing Authority CEO William Myles joined prominent members of the community to spread the word about First-to-Know in an unprecedented gospel-rap music video. The production includes Coroner Michael Fowler, the Mt. Zion Praise Team, and the hottest rappers in the city: Cantrell, Big Josh, OG Twelve and Jo3 H3nson. The video features Albany’s iconic scenery, including the courthouse, the James H. Gray Sr. Civic Center, Mt. Zion Church, and our public housing Amps.

“The authority felt the need for this system because news and social media are built on for-profit, engagement-based advertising business models,” Myles said in a release from the agency. “The result is sensationalized coverage of the pandemic and an overwhelming amount of misinformation, disinformation and outdated information known as ‘the infodemic.’ WHO and the CDC have identified the infodemic as the reason people continue to spread COVID-19. We chose to launch the system with a gospel-rap music video that captures the essence of Albany to make it as easy as possible for residents to sign up.

“Change moves at the speed of trust. In order to keep our community safe, we need to be the first to know.”

The First-to-Know system solves many problems for the AHA. It will streamline communication with residents, which has been spread out across email, social media, flyers, and going door-to-door.

“These channels are untenable in 2020 — our country needs to think about civic communication in a completely new way,” the AHA release said. “We believe the First-to-Know System is the future of civic communication.”

Albany Housing Authority provides its residents with a variety of services that promote and develop self-sufficiency and create homeownership opportunities through enrollment in the Family Self-Sufficient Program for five years with goal settings. Albany Housing Authority strives to enrich the lives of its residents by partnering with other nonprofit social service providers, municipal governments and state government.

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